Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I get mail.

From: Anthea
Subject: Hide the Bible

Hi Jeff – just come across your website and in some ways it is highly amusing. In others, however, I find it upsetting and I hope you will read on to find out why. I know of some members of the Gideons movement; I know of the huge sacrifice in time and money some of them make to fund and place Bibles in hotels for those that want to make use of them. You can guarantee that amongst the donors there are plenty of elderly widowed women living on a meagre pension who want to do this for the benefit of others. Could you not show some respect for them?

So you don’t want to read it? Fair enough. I understand. Plenty don’t. Why not just put it back in the drawer? Your game seems quite funny, but as it extends itself and encompasses more and more Bibles, you are in a way insulting and rejecting the love and concern of hosts of people who care about others. You may not like their way of caring – but that is what it stems from. If you ever read some of the Gideon bulletins, you will hear of some of the heart-rending stories of those on life’s knife edge who have been helped in a significant way by finding a Bible in a hotel room – people who previously would never have touched one yet remain truly grateful that they did. Your game may the reason that some people miss out on some help at a crucial moment in their lives. You may never know.

Please re-think what you are promoting. I am sure you are a reasonable person (as well as obviously a fun one) so please have a re-think.

Best wishes,


Dear Anthea:

If elderly women are wasting part of their meagre pensions to put Bibles in hotel rooms, then THAT is the problem. Instead of hassling me about interfering with those Bibles, why not hassle the Gideons organization for weaseling money out of those elderly ladies?

You ask why I don't "just put it back in the drawer". I don't do that because I think Christianity is harmful. I'm sure the love and caring those elderly women feel is real. I encourage them - as should you - to channel it into something that actually helps people in need, instead of sucking them into a cult when they're at their most vulnerable.

You refer to testimonials by people who say they were helped by finding a Bible in their hotel room. Fair enough. Have you ever read any of the testimonials by those who've thrown off the shackles of religion, and felt so much better for it? Yet you won't find atheists taking advantage of hotel patrons by slipping our literature into their rooms. It's not that we care any less than those elderly ladies. It's that we think taking advantage of a captive audience like that is crass, manipulative, and WRONG.

Thank you for presuming that I'm a reasonable person. I try to be. And that's WHY I come up with stuff like the Hide the Bible game.

-Jeff Dee

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Melnibinean Art Kickstarter Begins

Please help me re-create my lost Melnibonean artwork from the 1st edition of Deities & Demigods for AD&D, and get signed prints of the re-created artwork! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jeffdee/re-creating-my-melnibonean-art-from-deities-and-de

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Old School Gaming

Somebody on Facebook asked, "what does 'old school gaming' mean?". Here's my response:

‎"Old School" is a buzzword that (to most self-professed old-school gamers) just means "Good". And there are as many definitions of what constitutes a 'good' tabletop RPG as there are tabletop role-players.

For some it's pure nostalgia for the olden days or for early editions of their personal favorite game system. For some it's a preference for simpler, sketchier, more primitive rules sets - never mind the fact that high levels of complexity started appearing in TTRPGs very early on in the hobby. For some it's a preference for story-oriented role-playing over 'winning'. For some it's an expression of distaste for new-fangled innovations like being able to build a specific character concept.

I had my first TTRPG experience back in the OD&D brown box days. I've played (and designed) many different systems since then. So at the risk of muddying the waters even further, here's my own take.

I reject pure nostalgia as 'good' because some later games are better written and more playable than some early ones. I reject the 'sketchier is better' view in favor of a recognition that while some simple systems are extremely powerful tools, others are a complete waste of paper. And usually, the more recent simple systems tend to be the better ones. I agree that in-game efforts to succeed (i.e., 'role-playing' or 'story') is a worthier goal than meta-level player success ('winning') - yet as a simulationist I also reject game systems with meta-level story mechanics. And I have no objection whatsoever to 'newfangled innovations', IF they are useful tools which promote the kind of RP/story-oriented simulationist play style that I prefer.